Three Ways To Less Impulsive Parenting

Posted: June 29, 2015

Its not easy being a mother. Often we tend to be impulsive. A mother suggests three parenting tips, for a less impulsive parenting.

Since time immemorial, one of the most prominent ‘Moral Science lessons’ we are taught as kids is “Think Before You Act”.

What I didn’t know then, and know now, is how difficult it would be to follow this simple advice once I became a mother.

The first rule in every book of parenting is always to step back and observe whenever there has been any misbehaviour. Then take a moment to review the situation before thinking and deciding about what to do. Pretty simple right?

Turns out, not that much. It’s hard, very hard.

Even though I fully understand that my boys are ONLY two years old, and hardly understand which of their actions is right and which is wrong, there is an inner pressure from me to act in that very moment without this whole step back, pause and review process. It’s just so much easier to say “Stop it!”, “Just go away”, “For heaven’s sake please be quiet”, “Why did you do that?”, “Is there something wrong with you?” and many such statements.

Once I am in control of my emotions and instincts again. And then I hang my head in shame and despair.

Once I am in control of my emotions and instincts again, I berate myself and think of how I would feel, as a thirty year old woman, if someone said that to me. And then I hang my head in shame and despair.

These useless, extremely harsh, mostly loud, nonsensical comments that come out from us are a result of the impulse for immediate action, like a powerful fire alarm going off inside the brain. They’re so off the mark and serve absolutely no purpose.

I know of older kids who know that their mothers are so off the mark, and THEY feel bad for their mothers. They know that their mothers are losing it and they respond with statements like “Relax Mom!” (as if!) and “Things will be ok Mom!”(ok, if you say so!)

It is in these situations, that I found myself in previously, that I pondered over and wondered –“Who’s the parent then?”

I realized that I did not want to be at the receiving end of statements like “Relax Mom!” from my now toddler and future grown up kids

After a long introspection, I realized that I did not want to be at the receiving end of statements like “Relax Mom!” from my now toddler and future grown up kids. My conscience would not be able to handle it. And thus, I began my journey towards reducing my impulses when reacting to any parenting situation. I can now proudly say that I’ve covered 80% of the distance, and hoping to go the full mile. Fingers crossed. It has made me a calmer, happier mom. And not surprisingly, this has resulted in calmer, happier kids. Win for all!

Here are the three tips that I followed to reduce impulsiveness when reacting to any parenting situation:

Stop rushing

This is one of the most counter intuitive things for any mom, but it had to be done. When there’s always a million things to do on that, to-do list from work to doctors appointments to cooking to paying the bills, we often tend to forget that we are dealing with humans and human relationships. More importantly, these relationships are with our little people!

It’s good to remember that rushing interferes with thinking.

In the 21st century, most of us, especially moms, function quite successfully as last minute people. We work best when there are deadlines and our last minute work often turns out to be our best. But think again- is this really the legacy we want to leave behind for our children? Do we really want to teach our kids this rushing as a way of life? Is it that we have just created this excuse that we work best when we work under pressure with no time to waste and have actually started believing it too?

In some situations, thinking on the spot works and we may have to rush. But more often than not, we always really have more time than we think. Make it your new mantra. Don’t rush. Please don’t let this be like a New Year resolution that truly lasts only for one week. Let it become a part of your life so that it truly makes you a better parent and a better example for your kids. It feels really good. Trust me on this one!

Plan things a night before

In other words, I started following my own rules. When kids are older, we always teach them to be prepared for school the night before-including laying out their uniform, packing their bags, etc. I started doing that for myself as well.

Long term assignments and work was planned and begun way ahead of schedule to relieve me of the pressure of a botched job at the last minute. I began advocating this at work and at home as well. It all boiled down to one simple fact- we all need to follow our own rules as well.

Before tucking in your kids to bed, make sure their bags are packed, uniforms are laid out and shoes are polished. This organization will make a mother feel a little better and less rushed each morning, and have the optimism to say to each child “Have a nice day” and actually mean it so that each day is now starting off with more love than before.

Because I was prepared for the day with delays counted in, if any untoward situation arose that made my schedule go haywire or my child explosive, I was able to respond with calmness, a hug and reassurance rather than losing my mind and throwing a tantrum over the issue. You will be able to do so too!

Set your priorities right

It’s not easy at all to follow this, but don’t let one small moment of confusion spoil your entire day. It’s just a moment, let it pass, don’t get stuck in it. Don’t let the loss of that microcosm of joy due to things going as per plan deprive you many other things to be joyful for.

If you consider it this way, you do not waste any energy in pointless thoughts related to the loss. Impulsive action is minimized because you take it in your stride and don’t react at all! Be prepared for the small stuff to go awry, give it a nod but don’t dwell on it enough to lose any energy over it. Don’t let it affect your self-confidence as a parent. This too shall pass, you say, and carry on!

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” -Will Rogers

Although I write about this, I know my husband will say that I am about 75% there, and there are a few things which I will start following once my kids have grown up a little. I was anyways a compulsive planner, and I still love to plan and execute my day or else I really can’t work efficiently or spend quality time with the kids and just enjoy the moment. More so, when I plan it reduces my anxiety.

I don’t like sudden changes and that why I hate my sudden impulsive parenting actions. But I understand that life happens, plans change, and sometimes things are out of your control. I am trying very hard to follow the three points mentioned above and make myself a better parent.

I understand now that we need to accept certain things as a part and parcel of daily life and adapt to the changes that take place. So, I am slowly learning to do all these things too. How about you?

Mother child image via Shutterstock

Doting mommy to fraternal twin toddler boys, in my earlier avatar I was an Architect,

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Comments

1 Comment


  1. Good one Namrata….very interesting. But somehow I feel that dads do not play much role or rather not actively involved in any of the ‘getting the children ready’ process, anywhere in India. Either the mothers are too finicky about how things should be done, that the dads (who are actually willing to do) get sidelined or they just do the role of supervision when the mother and the kids are stuck in the early morning rush. This would hold good whether the mom is working outside or working at home. Parenting is for both mom and dad, and when there is equal contribution, there would be less stress, more fun and this way team work can be taught at home.
    I say this, because several times in many households, I find women on their toes from morning, whereas the men have time to browse the newspaper, check mails, whatsapp and throw a tantrum about ties and shoes not in place. To be able to lead is by being better role models, than just TELLING the kids, how to be.. Henceforth I wish women stop ‘mothering’ the husband and make his contribution be understood to the children—because nobody enunciates the importance of ‘fatherhood’ as much as they do the ‘motherhood’ so that parenting becomes an art.

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